Gardening and Community 101


While traditional college campuses boast broad expanses of lawn and grand iron fences to separate the halls of academe from the surrounding neighborhood, Augsburg College in Minneapolis’s Cedar Riverside area set aside space along 20th Avenue last year for a large community garden as an extension of its continuing goal to connect with the community surrounding the college.

Evidence of the garden’s success lingers this fall in the fat cabbages, robust Brussels sprouts and colorful Swiss chard still thriving in the cold autumn rains.

Brian Noy, leader of the college and community volunteer program Campus Kitchens, began the garden last year as a way to provide food for the program, as well as space for land-strapped college students to grow some of their own food, and for community members (especially children) to receive hands-on training in gardening and nutrition. Thirty percent of the garden’s plots are used by students living on campus, 30 percent by faculty and staff, and 40 percent by community members and organizations. On summer nights, members of all three groups can be seen watering and weeding side-by-side in their plots.

The Campus Kitchen interns not only coordinate activities in the garden, but also provide nutrition lessons to children in community education groups from the Brian Coyle community center and Trinity Lutheran Church. The kids are taught simple lessons about healthy eating and then brought to the garden to see where food comes from — outside of a grocery store.

This article first appeared in the fall issue of MOQ, and has been slighted updated since for the Web. See more photos from the Augsburg gardens on the MOQ Flickr page.